Since you are a nurse, you probably already know that Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, responsible for 1 in 4 deaths every year. To promote awareness during American Heart Month, Tafford Uniforms is offering the chance to win a Littmann Stethoscope, in honor of American Heart Month!
But before we tell you how to win, we want to raise awareness about heart disease prevention by offering up some lifestyle change tips that promote good heart health for you and your community.
Here are 10 tips you can share for a heart healthy lifestyle:
- Limit particular fats in your diet— saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and especially trans fat- This includes margarine, processed snack foods, red meat, deep-fried fast foods, bakery products, and dairy products. HINT: If the term “partially hydrogenated,” is on the nutrition label, it means the product contains trans fat.
- Get tested for diabetes and control it if you have it — Consider being screened for diabetes. Many insurance plans now offer a free yearly wellness check which may include this screening. Ask your doctor if it’s time for a fasting blood sugar test to check for diabetes, and pay attention to body signals if you have it.
- Get enough rest nightly — People who don’t get enough sleep have a higher risk of heart attack, and many other factors which contribute to heart disease. On average, 7-9 hours of sleep per night can make you feel refreshed and can reduce stress levels, which also helps your heart.
- Encourage the use of spices for seasoning instead of table salt. If you use traditional iodized salt, try switching to sea salt (rock salt) or pink Himalayan salt for the rich mineral content. Try gifting a sample of new spices to a friend or family member who may be at-risk, so they can experiment with substituting for salt.
- Quit smoking — The good news is when you stop smoking, your risk of heart disease drops nearly to that of a nonsmoker in about five years. Even if you have smoked for a lifetime, your risk decreases when you quit.
- Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels — Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every couple of years and have their cholesterol checked every five years, especially if they have other heart disease risk factors. It’s always good to watch these numbers so you know where you stand, and take actions to lower it when needed.
- Exercise regularly — Try getting around 45 minutes of moderate physical activity several times a week. Even low impact activities, such housekeeping, taking the stairs, pushing a baby in a stroller, tending a garden, and playing with your pets outside, all count toward your total.
- Stick to a healthy diet — A diet containing 6 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit daily, accompanied by whole grains assist in protecting your heart. Other low-fat sources of protein like beans and some fish can also reduce your risk. Eating fats from healthy plant-based sources, such as nuts, olives and avocado, lowers the bad type of cholesterol which ultimately helps your heart.
- Reduce consumption of alcohol — If you regularly consume alcohol, it’s better for your heart to keep it moderate. That means one drink a day for women and men over age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
- Sustain a healthy weight — Reducing your weight by just 7% can help lower your cholesterol levels, decrease your blood pressure and reduce your risk of diabetes. Excess weight adds to factors that increase your chances of heart disease so maintaining it keeps you on the right path.
Although some risk factors such as age or family history of heart disease cannot change, these prevention steps are a great place to start to reduce the overall risk. Helping spread the word in your community to friends, neighbors and patients can have a positive impact around you.
The grand prize winner will take home the stethoscope, and three runner-ups will win a coffee mug with a $5 Starbucks card, courtesy of TravelNursingBlogs.com. We will announce the winners on Feb 17th so stay posted — and good luck!
Update, February 19, 2015
Congratulations to the lucky winners!
Grand Prize — Dee M.
Mug/Starbucks Card Winners — Katie P., Karen W., and Holly C.